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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Singing is a Free Action

After the mess of this morning, we went to Guys and Dolls. Just the Four of Us - me, my dad, my sister, and my stepbrother. No spouses, nobody else. Just Us Four. And it was a total hoot.

First of all, there's the theater - the 5th Avenue is gorgeous, old-fashioned, and has these great Asian details (I especially like the Chinese-style Exit signs). Seattle theatergoers are a mixed lot as well; I saw people wearing everything from biker leathers to evening wear, with the whole scale between these extremes. Then there's the play itself. It premiered in 1950 per wikipedia, and the year 1948 is mentioned in a song set in the Hot Box cabaret, so I'm assuming it's set in '49.

There are things you notice when you see a play as a child and then skip 30 years before you see it again. Although I haven't seen it before tonight since I was twelve or so, I've heard the songs ad nauseum, as they are part of my culture. I never felt sympathy for Adelaide before tonight; usually her voice in her signature song is so over-the-top as to be a caricature of itself and I find it annoying. But the actress who sang Adelaide was great. The Guys were wonderfully done, especially Nicely Nicely and Nathan Detroit, and the Dolls were terrific too. The General of the Salvation Army was clearly having so much fun! Sarah Brown and her Grandfather Abernathy had this sweet relationship and Sarah and Sky Masterson  had major chemistry.

Singing is a free action in musical theater; it's especially evident in the scene including Luck Be a Lady; the Guys are all horribly impatient for Sky to start rolling the dice already.... until he bursts into song and they all join in for a good four or five minutes. Even the Bad Guy of the piece. From a gamer perspective, this is hilarious. I've played a character who was a musical theater actress before, but her power didn't lie in her music; theater was her day job (well... night job; she was a vampire). But now I want to play a Bard (or an Ecstatic Cultist) just so I can sing Luck Be a Lady and mean it.